I feel a bit guilty for not updating sooner. This is a pretty conceivably long chapter (in my opinion). I tried my hand at with the Baltics' characters, however, I am not very sure they are completely accurate. Nevertheless, I tried with the best of my ability so I suppose I should just make do with it. Thank you very much for taking the time to read this story, readers. I look forward to making more chapters as soon as I can get them all on paper...and not lose them.


Awareness (V)

A sweet euphony escaped from a young man's mouth. His clear, green eyes scanned the newly refurbished living room, taking in the glorious homey atmosphere. It wasn't every day that Lithuania would find his home in perfect sterile peace and serenity. Everything was perfect. Well, almost…

Sighing good naturedly, Lithuania fixed the collection of crooked photographs on the counter. The frames were all musty brown and covered in dust from years of service. Pictures of Latvia, Estonia, and Poland were incased within the glasses, decades of years old, perhaps even more. Two pictures promptly caught the Lithuanian's interest as he shuffled through the memorabilia. One was of him and the Baltic States posing solemnly behind a very cheerful Russian. The other was of him and Mister America sitting comfortably on the benches outside the house.

From what he could remember, the American was doing some spring cleaning. Granted, America didn't get much cleaning done, even though he offered to help. Lithuania remembered conversing peacefully with him that day with a cup of coffee in one hand. It was a beautiful day, much like how it was outside at the moment and he was happy. It seems as though Mister America had the uncanny ability of spreading his cheery attitude with the people he met. Well… for most of the time anyway.

The brunette winced slightly. What would America think about him betraying his trust as a fellow comrade? It was distressing to even think about his reaction right now.

However, as for the other picture, Lithuania carelessly disposed of it in a trash bin.

There was a loud opening and closing of the door and sure enough, little Latvia came skipping in. A grin was remarkably imbedded on the usually sheepish country.

"And where exactly have you been?" Lithuania questioned.

"With Sealand," the lad simply replied. He jumped onto the couch and propped his feet up on Lithuania's spotless table. The older country promptly smacked them with an unamused glare.

"Please be serious and try to stop acting like a child for once. We both know that you have a lot of work that you should be doing right this very second. I don't like you slacking off on your duties as a country."

"Boo, you're no fun, Lithuania. Besides, how often do I really get to enjoy life like this? I want to be happy, not a punctilious nation like you," said Latvia, popping a lollipop in his mouth.

"Honestly Latvia, if you weren't so lazy and slacking all the time, you'd be as much of a genius as Estonia."

"Is that so?" A new voice immerged. Lithuania's eyes widened as Latvia jumped up to greet his fellow Baltic. The blonde man stroked the child's head with a barely visible smile. He turned to look at the other nation.

Lithuania nodded once in acknowledgement, "Estonia."

"Greetings brother. You are looking very well," Estonia commended.

"As do you," replied the brunette almost robotically. The two men made no indication of hospitality. They simply stood eyeing each other apathetically in a combative standpoint. Finally, one of them spoke again.

"Latvia, please be a dear and fetch Lithuania and I a drink from the store. Here's the money. It should be plenty, so get yourself something special on the way back. Move along now," Estonia articulated handing the boy a wad of bills and coins. Lithuania dismissed him with a smile and a nod.

With the boy gone, the room suddenly became tensed. The two nations openly expressed their irritation through the transmission of auras. Lithuania could feel the weight of aggravation coming from his brother's gaze. But there was something else. There was a hint of pity…

"Latvia is looking very happy today, isn't he? It doesn't look like he cries anymore, either," the blonde cautiously began. He took a seat in the couch, hands folded in his lap.

Lithuania chose to sit on a chair farthest away from the man. "Yes. He's been fairly well, ever since we joined the secession…." He paused to let the idea float in the air. Estonia seemed thoroughly unfazed, barely blinking at all.

"Is that so?" He sounded unimpressive.

Lithuania bit his cheeks before continuing. "Canada and the others are very supportive. They're helping us cope with political and affiliation disputes. Latvia is somewhat at ease now and he has a wonderful relation with that micro-nation, Sealand. I-, well by that, I meant, we don't always have to constantly worry about his welfare anymore."

He sneaked a look at Estonia who was listening intently but with very little fascination in his eyes. "But you know, we still need all the help we can get…"

"Why don't you join us, brother? With your wits and skills, we can expand the Awareness Correlation. Not only that but we can ensure Latvia's safety and keep him well away from his grasp. We can-"

"I certainly hope you are sane enough to assess this preposterous outlook. Tell me Lithuania, have you lost fear of him because you possess the 'guaranteed' protection" offered from that ludicrous group of yours? Have you forgotten the extent of his powers against all of us?" Estonia's voice gradually rose by each uttered word.

His sharp eyes perceived in front of him a foolish knight confidently relying on its king for protection against vandals. What would the king do, but send his knights to fight for him? Alas, each would be lay dead unceremoniously on top of one another. And who else to pick up the remaining fragments, but the last reigning tyrant. His older brother obviously did not think any of this through. Although he was always the one being taken advantage of, even right from the beginning.

"Is it wrong to trust and hope? This is not about me, little brother. This is about Latvia. Yes, I admit, I still harbor fear. Deep down, I don't think I could ever forget. But I must suppress this fear for Latvia's sake. Never in a million years do I ever want to see him suffer through all that again. He will never get to Latvia ever again…"

Lithuania's hands unconsciously touched the imbedded scars on his back. His hands were trembling, sure enough. Not only that but his legs buckled from gravity. Estonia's gaze softened for a moment seeing his brother in a state of apprehension, only to harden again.

"You're wrong. It's not worth all of these pains, if it means indefinitely losing in the end."

The brunette's eyes widened at the comment. Without thinking, he slammed his fists onto the cherry wood table.

"Oh shut up Estonia! You couldn't possibly understand, since you've always been the lucky one! Perhaps if you stop thinking things detail for detail and just look at the whole picture, you'd realize that there is such thing as hope. Something can be done, no matter how small the effects will turn out to despite the cons."

Estonia fell silent from Lithuania's sudden outburst. He'd never seen the man with such spite in his words. He mused for a second as Lithuania struggled to compose himself.

"…I'm sor-"

"Even if I could help, Russia's military far exceeds all three of us combined. It's unimaginable what he's capable of pulling off…." The blonde pushed his glasses up solemnly and stood. "… and don't be stupid Lithuania. I would think that you knew better than that, you being the eldest out of us after all. I perfectly understand what you and Latvia are going through. I'm not as dense and ignorant as you perceive me to be. However, that isn't a rational excuse for haphazardly lashing out on Russia. I suggest you think of the consequences of your actions, and not just the pros no matter how tempting they seem."

This struck Lithuania dumbstruck. He tried to find words to exchange but Estonia stood up and headed towards the door in one fluid moment. Without sparing another glance at his brother.

"I expect he's plotting something big this very moment. Watch your back and stay close to your little…confederacy. If you're smart, you'd best be worrying about Latvia's south-eastern border. Request additional reinforcements from the Canadians and post them up accordingly in the east ranges. Lastly, prepare for the worse. Ration everything from food supplies to ammunition, understand?"

"...whose side are you on?"

"Neither." And with that, Estonia walked away sparing a final distant glance at his brother.

Lithuania sat there on his carpeted living room staring at the door for what seemed like hours. He replayed the whole conversation with Estonia before finally coming to his senses. Several minutes later, Latvia arrived holding a bottle of champagne in one hand, to find one less nation and his big brother furiously dialing numbers with a hardened expression.

.:.

Estonia thanked his driver as the car dropped him off to his house. He was certainly looking forward to a calming drink, perhaps a book or two, only to find a certain Russian standing on his doorstep. The nation turned to look at him with a sweet smile. The blonde took a step back impulsively.

"Ah, Добрый вечер, good evening, Estonia," he said pleasantly. It was an awfully brilliant afternoon. Crickets were chirping away with the steady breeze, the sun barely peeking out from the horizon.

Receiving no answer, Russia played with the cornflowers planted along the porch. They were nothing compared to sunflowers, of course. Sunflowers were more flamboyant. More grand, far more superior.

"I assume you went to advise them, did you not?"

He kindly offered the smaller nation a bouquet of yellow roses flown straight from the Netherlands. It definitely wasn't a sunflower, but it was fairly suitable.


Author's Note:

1. Yes! It turns out that Estonia is neutral. Granted, I never said he would be included in the U.A.C. If the Baltics, especially Lithuania and Estonia, were wrongly characterized, please do forgive me. I tried researching, reading other fanfics, and reading a helpful review to increase my understanding of them, so I can't say I did not do any research.

2. The flowers served as symbols in the story. I am thoroughly interested in 'Hanakotoba' or Language of Flowers and I thought it would be nice to incorporate them in the story. Symbolic Meanings:

❀Cornflower: persistence, and from what I heard it symbolizes agriculture and politics in Estonia?

❀Sunflowers: loyalty, haughtiness, and proud.

❀Yellow Roses: jealousy, friendship, broken heart, betrayal, and strong emotions.